Responding to plans for negotiations on a new trade agreement with Switzerland, BCC Head of Trade Policy, William Bain, said:
“Businesses will welcome the call for input into these new Swiss-UK negotiations getting underway later this year.
“Switzerland is the UK’s tenth largest trading partner with a relationship worth £34.5bn in total trade in 2020. The trade surplus the UK had with Switzerland in 2020 was more than £14bn.
“We would urge negotiators not to dislodge the current provisions on rules of origin – these are highly important for UK supply and manufacturing supply chains.
“There are also opportunities to secure bespoke arrangements on digital trade, green trade and an SME chapter within a revised trade agreement.
“London, the South–East and East of England already have especially strong export links to Switzerland. We look forward to sharing our ideas with government on a bespoke, ambitious trade agreement with Switzerland which boosts our exports right across the UK.”
Switzerland is the UK’s fifth largest export market for services, amounting to 4.1% of the UK’s entire services exports per year. Particular UK export strengths to the Swiss market are in business, financial, telecommunications and transport services.
Existing Swiss-UK trading terms do not cover services market access issues and the Services Mobility Agreement in force is limited to only 90 day stays for work purposes without a work permit.
The UK Government is holding an eight–week public consultation on the negotiations. The new agreement will replace the continuity trade agreement reached by the two countries prior to the UK’s exit from the EU.